The making of Ahsan Manzil
In mughal period, there was a summer house of Sheikh Enayet Ullah, the landlord of Jamalpur porgona (district), in this place. Sheikh Enayet Ullah was a very charming person. He acquired a very big area in Kumartuli and included in his summer house. Here he built a beautiful palace and named it “Rangmahal”. He used to entertain here keeping beautiful girls collecting from home and abroad, dressing them with gorgeous dresses and expensive ornaments.
There is a saying that, the Foujdar of Dhaka (representative of Mughal emperor) in that time was attracted to one of the beautiful girls among them. He invited Sheikh Enayet Ullah in a party one night and killed him in a conspiracy when he was returning home. That girl also committed suicide in anger and sorrow. There was a one doomed cemetery of Sheikh Enayet Ullah in the north-east corner of the palace yard, which was ruined in the beginning of 20th century.
Probably in the period of Nawab Alibardi Khan around 1740 A.D., Sheikh Moti Ullah, the son of Sheikh Enayet Ullah, sold the property to the french traders. There was a french trading house beside this property. The trading house became wealthier after purchasing this property. In that time, french traders could do business here without paying any taxes by a decree from the emperor Awrangajeb.
In that time, the French became very wealthy doing business here in competition with the English and other Europian companies. They made a big palace and dug a pond for sweet water in the newly purchased property. The pond still exists in the compound of Ahsan Manzil, which was called “Les Jalla” in that time. In the English-French war, French got defeated and all their properties was captured by the English. In the 22nd June of 1757, the French left the trading house with a fleet of 35 boats from the river station of Buriganga in Kumartuli.
In 1785, the English transferred the property to a French tradesman named Mr. Champigni, and retaken it at 1801. According to Paris agreement of 1814, the French claimed all their left properties at Dhaka, and in 1827 the property was again returned to the French. For the increasing power of the English, the French was forced to left subcontinent. They decided to sell all their properties in Dhaka. So in 1830, the trading house of Kumartuli was purchased by the established landlord of Dhaka Khwaja Alimullah.
After some renovation work, the trading house became the residence of Khwaja Alimullah. In his time, a stable and a family mosque was added in the compound. After his death, his son Khwaja Abdul Gani made a great prosper to the property, and named it “Ahsan Manzil” on his son Ahsan Ullah. In the east side of the old building, he made a new building with a different design, and also done great renovation work to the old building. Since than, the old building was called “Ondor Mohol” and the new building was called “Rong mohol”.
Restoration of Ahsan Manzil
In the evening of 7th April, 1888, a great tornado hit Dhaka city causing great damage. Ahsan Manzil was greatly damaged and abandoned. An English engineer from Kolkata arrived here to examine the palace. He gave opinion that except the “Rangmahal”, all other parts of the palace have to be reconstructed. So Khwaja Abdul Gani and his son Ahsanullah turned their full attention to reconstruct the palace. Both of the building was reconstructed during that time with a new design made and supervised by the local engineer Gobinda Chandra Roy.
The old French building was reconstructed to a two storied building keeping similarity to the Rangmahal. A gangway was made with wood connecting the first floor of two building. The most beautiful thing made in this time was the doom, which made the palace so beautiful.
After the death of Khwaja Ahsanullah in 1901, the glory of Ahsan Manzil was ended. His successors couldn’t continue the glory for the internal family quarrel. They rented different parts of the palace to tenants, who actually made it a slum. In 1952 govt. acquired the property and left in supervision of the Dhaka Nawab court. In 1985, Dhaka National Museum acquired the property and made it a museum.
Have you ever visited Ahsan Manzil (Pink Palace)? How amazing have you found it? Share your experience with us in comments!
You might also be interested in reading 13 Best places to visit in Bangladesh you can’t miss and 101 Things to know about traveling Bangladesh.
Entry fees of Ahsan Manzil
- Local Tourists: 20 TK
- SAARC Country Tourists: 300 TK
- Other Foreigners: 500 TK
Visiting hours of Ahsan Manzil
Summer Season (April – September)
- Saturday – Wednesday: 10.30 AM – 05.30 PM
- Friday: 03.00 PM – 07.30 PM
- Thursday: Weekly Holiday
Winter Season (October – March)
- Saturday – Wednesday: 09.30 AM – 04.30 PM
- Friday: 03.00 PM – 07.30 PM
- Thursday: Weekly Holiday
- Ahsan Manzil will remain closed during any govt. holiday.
- Ahsan Manzil will be closed at 04.00 PM during the holy month of Ramadan.
- Ahsan Manzil O Dhakar Nawab: Oitihasik Ruprekha – Dr. Muhammad Alamgir
Check out our Old Dhaka Tour to visit the key attractions of Dhaka city, including Ahsan Manzil. Full day tour starts from $52 with air-conditioned car, English speaking guide, all site entrance tickets, and lunch on a local restaurant with authentic local food.
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Raw Hasan ( র. হাসান )
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